Japan Will Give All of its Citizens Nearly P50,000 Each For COVID-19 Relief

The Japanese government is handing out 100,000 yen (around P48,000) to every single one of its citizens to help them cope with the onslaught of the coronavirus in the hard-hit nation.

According to Nikkei Asian Review, the original proposal was to give 300,000 yen (about P143,000) to households that had lost income because of the crisis, but this was deemed too complicated.

With Japan’s population of about 123 million, the government’s plan would cost roughly 12 trillion yen (around P5.65 trillion).

"We need a measure that will pay benefits to more people," the Nikkei Asian Review quoted Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during a meeting of the government's coronavirus task force on Thursday night, April 16.

The announcement of the cash handout came on the same day Abe expanded the state of emergency from seven prefectures to the entire country to arrest the spread of the virus.

Although the nationwide state of emergency will not lead to hard lockdowns, it is certain to deal a debilitating blow to Japan's economy, according to Kyodo News.

"I decided to put all prefectures under the state of emergency to curb infections in respective areas and especially to keep the movement of people to a minimum heading into the Golden Week holidays," Abe said during the coronavirus task force response meeting.

The Golden Week holiday is when many Japanese go to their hometowns and typically runs from late April to early May. This year's holiday period will end on May 6. 

Japan nearly has 9,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 176 reported deaths. The number includes about 700 from the Diamond Princess cruise ship that was quarantined near Tokyo in February.

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Paul John Caña
Associate Editor, Esquire Philippines
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